Compare visual scripting tools for Unity

There are many visual scripting tools available for Unity. Which one should you pick? 

It's not an easy decision. Each has many features and different use cases. 

Let's see how Bolt compares to the most popular alternatives:

Feature Bolt PlayMaker Flow Canvas Node Canvas Behaviour Designer iCode
Graph Types
Flow Graphs
State Graphs
Behaviour Trees
Dialogue Trees
Compatibility
Unity API
Partial
Third-Party Plugins


Manual

Manual

Manual

Manual
Custom Scripts
Manual
Reusability
Macros
Nesting
Types
Primitives & Unity Objects
Lists & Arrays
Partial

Partial
Dictionaries
Custom Types
Manual
Variables
Graph Variables
Object Variables
Scene Variables
Application Variables
Saved Variables

Manual

Manual
Data-Binding
Network Syncing
Planned
Dynamic Variables
Events
Unity Events
Partial




Partial
Custom Events
No arg.

Scripted

No arg.


1 arg.
Animation Events
No arg.



Performance
Lambda Optimization



JIT Compilation
Near-Zero Allocations
Workflow
Native Look & Feel
Zoom
Minimap    
Groups
Fuzzy Finder
Live Editing
Partial
Visual Debugging
Predictive Analysis
Built-in Documentation
Partial

N/A

Partial

Partial
Compatibility
Standalone
WebGL
Consoles
Phones
Windows Store
IL2CPP

Source
Other
Scripting API
Planned
Source Code
Partial

Partial
Price $ 70 $ 65 $ 70 $ 75 $ 75 $ 50
Link Download Download Download Download Download Download

Of course, there are many more small differences between each tool. This comparison table should however give you a good idea of which tool suits your needs better.

Did you spot outdated or incorrect information in this table? Please let us know in the comments. We try to keep this comparison fair and up to date.

This article was helpful for 70 people. Is this article helpful for you?

+4

Bolt is by far the best! Flow Graphs and State Graphs can deal with basically every situation in game development, and the reflection system make all the units readable for both artists and programmers. Thank you for the tool! :)

+6

You are missing one important point: Unity version compatibility.

Actually I was tempted to buy Bolt in December sale, but bought FlowCanvas (+ Nodecanvas) because Bolt is Unity 2017 only and I will be sitting on Unity 5.6x  for quite a while here with several projects.

+5

现在很多的插件都支持unity2017了,但是有些只支持2017版本。我在使用2017的时候遇到了一个很尴尬的问题,我们所使用的搜狗输入法并不支持unity2017的中文输入。而且最重要的是Bolt连搜狗输入法都不支持。很难受。

+1

Well, I like how this comparison chart pretty much confesses that NodeCanvas is equally as good as Bolt. That's honesty. Bolt and NodeCanvas are by far the best of the bunch, I personally opt for Bolt, but it boils down to personal preference.

+6

How does this compare with Nottorus?

Quite favorably, since Nottorus is abandoned by April 2018.

Sorry non coder here.  That is why I am looking at Bolt  :)   What does the Windows Store IL2CPP notice/warning mean? 

Josh it's a custom programming language. it's still script based but is a new route Unity is taking for some devices to make it easier to program. Google will help when dealing with terms you don't understand.


https://blogs.unity3d.com/2015/05/06/an-introduction-to-ilcpp-internals/



+1

I'm sorry to say, but you're mostly wrong with your answer. Let me clarify things a bit.

First of all, IL2CPP is not a programming language at all. Secondly, it doesn't change the way you program for any platform in any way.

IL2CPP translates dot-net byte-code (the thing that is generated when you compile C# code) to native (for the target platform) C++ code. That way your code runs faster as C++ is still faster than any of intermediate languages (which byte-code is). But it requires having Intermediate Language To C Plus Plus (IL2CPP) translator implementation for each of the target platforms. That's why some of the target platforms got IL2CPP support just recently in Unity.

So why it is marked with the warning sign? It means Bolt will only work if you choose IL2CPP runtime when building for Windows Store platform. Which may be not possible for some of the projects because of different reasons. If you don't know if your project can be built using IL2CPP it most probably is, unless you use some old Unity version.

I have Nottorus why is that, which is your actual visual scripting competition not listed? Seems strange you list node based systems that are designed for a specific purpose but you leave out the one that is intended to do exactly the same thing. Can we get a feature comparison with it or are you scared?

I don't think he's scared at all. Nottorus is excellent, but costs twice as much as Bolt, and the author stated that he'll abandon it this month.

Where did the author state that please. All I see is him updating it 18 days ago and moving documentation to the asset package since he was taking the website down. That doesn't constitute abandonment but please correct me I was alerted to that by someone else and I am trying to track down the source. Also how is 5$ more 2x as much, bolt is 70, nottorus is 75....

Please note I am not trying to nock bolt at all, I have not even used Nottorus much, I purchased it in hopes of having a level designer in the future that would need such things, I prefer to just code myself, so I am seeking education. :) If it would help you educate me, the reason I picked Nottorus at the time I purchased, I felt it looked better visually and prefered how the nodes did the active runthrough visuals than how bolt does. Also I am a bit salty still about the bolt photon sale that cause that asset to be completely friggin worthless to me.

Educate yourself on the history of Nottorus then. Read its forum. It used to cost $250, then $150. The author is ending support for it, without pulling it from the asset store.

Hey Guys,  

I am kind of new to all this, and I am in a Game Design program with my university. I found that when we started using Diagram in Unity, I could understand the functions much better than just watching my prof write in C#. Is there a comparison  between the two (I know Diagram is not as extensive), and is this a good buy for someone like me? Bolt is on sale on the Unity Asset Store and I would love to jump on this. 

Sam,

A bit of a late answer as I am reading these threads for the first time.

Unlike other visual scripting tools like PlayMaker, Bolt units constitute a one to one mapping with Unity APIs meaning that it's an exact translation of Unity code into a visual environment.

As such I would recommend it if you are trying to get into developing in Unity but don't want to get too much into actual code.

Just wanted to update (I think), In the "Third-Party Plugins" row, it says that both Flow Canvas & Node Canvas have Reflection to integrate with 3rd party plugins.

Which I believe is the same Bolt does as well.

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